ORLAND — Orland became the first town in Steuben County in March 1838.

Captain Samuel Barry, Alex Chapin, Cyrus Choate and John Stocker came to the area from Vermont in 1834. Their homes and farms along Vistula Road were first called the Vermont Settlement.

Orland was incorporated in 1938 after Steuben County was officially established by the state legislature in May 1837.

The town holds tight to its roots, celebrating the Vermont Settlement Festival the last weekend of July.

Orland made a name for itself early on as a stop on the Underground Railroad bringing black slaves to freedom in Canada from the southern states. By the early 1850s, its outspoken abolitionists began to attract statewide attention. The arrest of five citizens who were caught moving slaves through Orland in 1853 thrust the community into the national spotlight.

The town was a stop on another regional railroad — the St. Joseph Valley Railway — when it was built in the early 1900s. A mural on the side of the Joyce Public Library, commissioned during Orland’s sesquicentennial in 1984, features a depiction of a train coming into the station. The depot, built in 1909, remains standing.

Joyce Public Library was also established in the early 1900s, and is one of Steuben County’s three public libraries.

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